The Advantages of Steel Frame Construction
When people think of durable building materials, the advantages of steel often come to mind. There are some superior materials out there depending on the application, but nothing has the right blend of affordability, flexibility, and durability to compete with steel as a material for commercial buildings.
What are the properties of steel that make it such a useful and powerful construction material? And are there any downsides you need to be aware of before using it for your next project?
What Is Steel Frame Construction?
Steel frame construction uses steel as a primary building material for the frame of a building. Steel beams are arranged as vertical columns and horizontal beams, working together to transfer loads and serve as the “skeleton” of a building. Steel beams are designed to resist loads that are applied laterally, while vertical columns support compressive loads. When appropriately bolted, welded, or riveted together, these steel structures make any building much more structurally sound.
It’s also possible to use steel in prefabricated construction. In this approach, you’ll rely on structures that are built in advance. Once delivered to the construction site, contractors just have to finish assembling the individual pieces. If done properly, this can cut costs dramatically and facilitate faster building.
The Advantages of Steel Frame Construction
So, what are the advantages of using steel as your building material?
- Prefabrication and high accuracy: When it comes to prefabricated steel, architects and contractors can count on a high degree of accuracy. Modern construction technology makes it easy to design and produce steel structures according to precise needs. If you’re hoping to build a steel building with perfect dimensions, this is a huge advantage.
- Construction speed: Prefabrication also speeds up construction, since you won’t have to build everything from scratch. If you want to raise a building as quickly as possible, even in a matter of days, prefabricated steel is one of your best choices. As long as you hire the right contractor for the job and you plan properly in advance, you can finish your industrial structures in record time.
- Cost efficiency: Generally, steel is more expensive than comparable construction materials like wood, but its overall cost efficiency is higher. There are a few reasons for this. For starters, steel justifies its high price by offering a ton of other advantages, such as durability and lower maintenance costs. Also, the lower construction costs associated with prefabricated steel partially make up for the higher material costs. All things considered, the cost to benefit ratio of steel construction is favorable.
- Safety: Steel is also considered a highly safe building material, both for the people constructing it and the people working in it. This is because of steel’s flexibility and durability. But it’s also because steel shows plenty of warning signs before it fails; you’ll notice corrosion, buckling, and other potential issues long before they become a significant problem.
- Long-term durability: If you put a wooden building next to a steel building and wait 300 years, which building do you think will be in better condition in the end? Steel offers incredible long-term durability and is resistant to wildlife, insects, and the elements. It doesn’t suffer from corrosion or deterioration the way other materials can. If you want your building to last, steel is the best option.
- Utility and versatility of design: Despite its toughness, steel is incredibly versatile. It can be molded into any shape and used in many ways, giving architects and engineers significant flexibility in how they design and build structures.
- Use in expansion or modification: Some business owners and contractors appreciate steel because it’s useful for expanding or modifying an existing structure. If you’re interested in adding a new wing to a building, steel offers a reasonable path forward.
- Lower insurance costs: Steel is incredibly resistant to most potential threats. Insurance companies love this, so they’re willing to extend a discount on your policy if your building is constructed with steel. This is an easy way to save money in the long term.
- Lower total weight: When it comes to structural integrity, steel offers more value for less weight. If you’re trying to keep your building light yet reasonably strong, steel is the perfect choice.
- Visual appeal: Some people appreciate the look of steel. It’s clean and modern, and as long as you take good care of it, it has a beautiful sheen to it. You can also customize its appearance to your liking.
- Low maintenance: Steel is known for its relatively low maintenance needs. You won’t have to inspect, repair, clean, or maintain your steel building frequently—it’s resilient and reliable enough to stand on its own.
- Energy efficiency: Steel is highly conductive, but steel buildings can be designed to be energy efficient. With the right approach to insulation and a few special modifications, you can reduce your energy demands.
- Relative sustainability: Relatively speaking, steel is also less harmful for the environment. Steel production is sustainable, and the material can be recycled in the future.
- Reuse potential: Steel has enormous potential to be reused and recycled. If you ever decide to demolish or deconstruct your building, you can sell the metal as scrap and recoup some costs.
Are There Any Disadvantages of Using Steel?
So are there any disadvantages to using steel as a construction material? The short answer is yes, but they’re easy to accommodate.
- Corrosion: Steel is vulnerable to corrosion in some applications, but you can apply a special coating to protect it.
- Buckling: Steel has the potential to buckle under significant weight. But as long as you understand the limitations and stay within them, it shouldn’t be a problem.
- Higher initial costs: Despite its long-term value and cost saving potential, the upfront costs of steel are higher than comparable materials.
Calahan Construction: Your Steel Construction Company
Are you convinced that steel is the right construction material for your next industrial application? Or are you interested in learning more about how steel buildings can improve your business? Calahan Construction Services is here to help. Contact us for more information today!